Anna Paes

Lúcia Gaspar
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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Anna Gonsalves Paes de Azevedo was probably born in 1617, to Jerônimo Paes de Azevedo and Izabel Gonsalves Paes of Portugual.

Her father was one of the richest and most important sugarcane plantation owners on the margins of the Capibaribe river. The plantation was given the following names (in order): Jerônimo Paes, Isabel Gonsalves, Dona Anna Paes, de Tourlon, Nassau, de With and, finally Engenho Casa Forte.

At 18, Anna became a widow at the death of her husband, Captain Pedro Correia da Silva, who fought in the defence of the São Jorge fort and died from the wounds he received in combat.

As part of her wedding dowry, she inherited the Casa Forte sugarcane factory and plantation, founded by her grandfather Diogo Gonsalves.

She had a brother, Antônio de Freitas, who lived in Bahia. With the death of her father, she began to run the factory with much energy and determination, competing with men and managing to keep it among the top ten in Pernambuco.

She was a beautiful woman, bold and well ahead of her time. Aside from Portuguese, she spoke and wrote in Latin and German.

She was educated according to the principles and customs of the Portuguese and lived with her mother near the Casa Forte factory, on Rua Bom Jesus.

When she became a widow, Anna Paes did not emigrate to Bahia as other families from Pernambuco had done, because of the Dutch invasion, and remained at her factory.

In 1637, she married a captain of the Dutch army, Capt. Carlos de Tourlon, with whom she had a daughter, Isabel de Tourlon, who would go on to marry an officer of the Dutch infantry, Virgilio Gaspar de Kroyestein, in Pernambuco.

For reasons unknown, Capt. Carlos de Tourlon was sent back to Holland by Maurício de Nassau, where he later died.

In 1645, Anna Paes married for the third time, after receiving confirmation of the death of Tourlon, a justice counsel of the Dutch government named Gilberto de With.

With Gilberto de With, Anna had two children, Kornelius and Elizabeth. Her three children were baptised into the Dutch Calvinist religion.

Having married a Dutchman, during the Dutch expulsion she was also considered to be Dutch and had all her assets confiscated.

In 1654, Anna Paes left for Holland with her husband and her children.

Her Casa Forte factory, where the Battle of Casa Forte, an important battle between Pernambuco and the Dutch took place on 17 August 1645, was put up for public auction.

Due to her advanced ways for the period, her attitudes towards the Dutch and her conversion to Calvinism, Anna Paes was considered by many historians to be an immoral woman.

Anna Paes died on 21 December 1674, in Dondrecht, Holland, where she lived with her family.

Recife, 21 October 2004.
(Updated on 20 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2011.


COSTA, Francisco Augusto Pereira da. Anais pernambucanos. 2. ed. Recife: Fundarpe, 1983. v. 3-4. (Coleção pernambucana, 2a. fase).

VASCONCELLOS, Telma Bittencourt de. Dona Anna Paes. Recife: Edição do Autor, 2004. 208 p.


Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Anna Paes. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.


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